Here it is again.  Gayle’s writing another post about the kids.  We, your readers, get it:   your kids are great, gifted, talented, open-minded, smart, funny, blahblahblah.  Too bad, says I, you gotta read it again!

My kids are grown and out of the house.  They are in various stages of their educations, in different regions of the world and country, and I occasionally get the opportunity to go visit them in their worlds.  This weekend was one of those times.

Sons Ben and Sam are in Beaver Creek, Colorado.  Ben has been in Colorado for 7 years, and in Beaver Creek for 4.  He’s a server at a restaurant in the Village, a backcountry powder skier, and student at Colorado Mountain College.  Sam graduated from UT in December and immediately came out to work for the resort for the season.  They both have, one each, a hand-me-down camper van from their Grandpa, although Ben also has an apartment.  Ben’s is a 1985 VW Vanagon, and Sam’s is a 1990 Airstream B-van.  They are named, respectively, Gertie and Aunt Bea.

gear-prep ritual
pre-ski music

My little trip out here started with a 2:30am alarm on Friday, for a 5:30 flight to Atlanta, and another leg to Eagle/Vail airport.  The boys, and Ben’s girl Kirsten, architecture graduate student at UC Denver and in town for the weekend as well, picked me up at the airport in Aunt Bea.  After a delayed Christmas gift exchange, we headed out for an evening of food and fun.

Ben and Kirsten
obligatory food porn

Sam’s resort job is being a sleigh host for Beano’s restaurant on the slope.  The only way to reach the restaurant is by skis or CAT.  After the lifts close at 4, the CAT/sleigh combo begins taking customers up from the village to the restaurant, a 15-minute outdoor ride.  Sam, in his duster and cowboy hat, loads visitors on the sleigh, tucks warm blankets around them, and entertains them on the short, cold ride up the hill.  Last night I got to be one of the guests.  I also got to see first-hand why Sam is the Employee of the Month, first rookie to ever be selected to that title, according to the restaurant manager.

Very very cold ride up the slope
cowboy sleigh host

Sam started playing banjo in October.  2010.  His sisters and I gave him a guitar for his birthday in September, and he immediately added the banjo to his repertoire.  Being the recent UT alum, as I mentioned, the first song he picked up?  Absolutely.  Rocky Top.  He has an affinity for bluegrass, and he is really enjoying his new pasttime.

On the sled on the way up he played 8 More Miles to Louisville and Rocky Top.  He also introduced Ben and me to his load of about 20 sled guests, and told them my turning-50-Ironman milestone.  As we waited in the restaurant in front of the beautiful stone fireplace, I spoke with what felt like was every one of those 20 guests as they told me how enjoyable Sam made that very cold ride up the mountain.

Beano's restaurant (you have to ride the sleigh up to know why that name)

The next day both boys were off work and the 4 of us spent the day on the slopes at Beaver Creek.  As much as I enjoy skiing, I have never really taken to it like the rest of my family has.  Maybe it’s because I only ski about 4 days a year, maybe it’s because I don’t push myself to get better since I do so much of that in my other training.  Whatever the reason, each year my resident instructor, Ben, has to give me remedial lessons in the fundamentals.  Each year he does it with such patience and good humor and makes me so proud he’s my son.  He and Sam and Kirsten also had to give up a day in the backcountry skiing in the out-of-bounds area in the deep powder.

Kirsten and Ben and me
Kirsten and me, post-slope

So, here it is Sunday night and I have 2 more days with my boys.  Ben’s working tomorrow, but Sam and I will go out and do something.  I cooked a giant mom meal tonight of pork roast, scalloped potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, yeast rolls, and apple crisp.  (That’s after last night’s banana pudding).  I love taking care of the guys and just marinating in their boyness.  I am so proud of the men they are becoming, and I love their aggressive spirit of adventure.  I know I say that each time I blog about one of the kids, but it’s always at the forefront of what I love about them!

Thanks for reading, and especially thanks for letting me ramble on about my kids!